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(1) (Oct 11th)  We started our current mission trip in Wilmington, NC on Wednesday, October 5th, but then had to spend three days riding out strong winds and heavy rains from Tropical Storm Tammy.  Afterwards, we struck an uncharted rock in the Intracoastal Waterway near Myrtle Beach, SC, breaking off a piece of one of our outer keels.  Pressing onward offshore, our engine shut off as we were entering a dark inlet further down the coast, leaving us to hastily anchor alongside large jetty stones in stormy conditions. David worked late to restart the motor, then had to dive into the cold waters to salvage an anchor line wrapped around the propeller.  Well, we're off to our usual start!  Surely we are about to do something important for the Lord!! As David once wrote, "The severity of the trial is proportionate to the significance of the task."

(3(Oct 18th)  Finally the weather improved and we were able to make good progress sailing mostly offshore, using the wind to save on expensive diesel.  We even had a stowaway - a tiny bird who stayed with us until we finally sailed back towards land.  Twelve years ago this month a similar little one hitched a ride the night of our shipwreck along this same coast (no storm this time, Praise the Lord!)

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FALL 2005 Mission Trip to Guatemala

[Reports are keyed to corresponding numbers on map]

{Click here for articles and pictures from previous trips}

(2) (Oct 12th)  As the stormy conditions passed we were able to get some of the cargo stored away and much needed repairs done.  A  brief stop in Charleston, SC was a pleasant break to a very busy journey.

David working on deck

Charleston harbor

Debbie steering the waterway

Debbie steering FAITHDavid working on deckCharleston harborLittle bird on the deck

(Oct 21st)  We are anchored behind Amelia Island, FL waiting to see what direction hurricane Wilma takes as she departs the coast of Mexico.  Our hearts go out to the people there and we are praying about making an additional stop to render some inspiration and aid as we will have to pass that way going to Guatemala.  David has beached our trimaran Faith to inspect the damage to the keel and to do other repairs.  Keep us in your prayers as the winds begin to pick up here.

We've had plenty of time to consider how important all of the delays in our departure from North Carolina have been in keeping us safely out of the path of Wilma.  Had we left on our first target date we most certainly would have been along the Mexican coast around this time.  Even tropical storm Tammy and other 'obstacles' (the keel damaged, engine cutting off) slowed us enough so we would not be in the Florida Keys this weekend.  Truly our Lord is an 'On Time God' !! [see our Fall 05 newsletter]

Read this very important email from our missionary friend Myra Smith of Guatemala, one of our destinations on this mission trip, about the urgency of  our journey.  (Click here)

(4) (Nov 7th) Finally in Key Largo loading up on food, fuel and supplies for the last 'leg' to Key West then Central America.  It has been quite a journey down the state of Florida, with rain and bridge delays.  The damage from Wilma along the waterfront was not as bad as we expected but still we saw many familiar sailboats sunken or on their sides washed ashore, a reminder of how important it is that our 'treasures' are in heaven instead [Matt. 6:19-21}

David's new beard- but then he 'found' his razor

PIRATES??  No, just a charter sailboat in St. Augustine, FL

We completed our journey by sailing offshore, saving over 21 bridges we would've had to pass through!!  The weather was excellant but it was quite late and we were very tired as we began in from sea into the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay.  Not only was the lighthouse not working because of the hurricane but our GPS also shut off, leaving David to navigate 'in the spirit'.  As in every time before, the Lord proved He is trustworthy to all who put their trust in Him! [Read Proverbs 3:5,6]

A lighthouse along the south Florida coast

(5) (Nov 15th) Last stop - Key West - before our 'ocean voyage' to the Mexican coast.  The harbor here was riddled with boats, sunken or washed ashore.  In spite of the losses, cruise ships still arrived, parasails and jet ski's raced past, and the local government was meeting today to discuss when to reschedule 'Fantasy Fest' (a gay celebration similar to the 'Southern Decadence' in New Orleans - read my article ), posponed because of hurricane Wilma [we never learn, do we?]

Had an interestingly different 'obstacle' to deal with the past few days - 'too many bouys'.  We had wanted to sail near the shore to lessen the gusty winds, but found it nearly impossible to avoid all of the crabtrap bouys that had been blown in by Wilma [had to dive under the boat twice to unravel the propeller].  Lesson learned - you sometimes have to face the storms of life head-on to avoid being entangled in the 'traps' of life !!

(6) (Dec 1st)  After two cold fronts passed, we were finally able to say goodbye to Ft. Jefferson, the last of American soil, but also had to sadly bid farewell to our new friends Jim & Kim, with whom we  prayed, fellowshipped, and ate turkey!!

(7) After three days of open sea we passed along the coast of Mexico, but without stopping until we reached Guatemala (another four days away because of light winds and strong currents)

Sailing past Cancun, Mexico

One of our beautiful sunrises at sea

{For more pics and testimonies of our visit in Guatemala click here}